Nurses up and down the UK have been supporting International Nurses’ Day with special events and initiatives.
The celebration, held each year on 12 May, was marked in a huge variety of ways by frontline nurses and their representative groups.
Nurses and midwives from the five hospitals that make up Imperial College Healthcare Trust walked across a stretch of London in celebration of both days and to help raise money for charity.
A four-mile walk on 8 May helped to raise funds for the trust’s own charity Imperial College Healthcare Charity and the White Ribbon Alliance, a global network of organisations that aims to reduce maternal and newborn death.
The event was purposefully being held between the International Day of the Midwife on 5 May and the International Day of the Nurse, celebrated on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the trust said.
The Royal College of Nursing highlighted patient stories to demonstrate the “positive impact that nurses can have for people during extremely difficult times in their lives”.
These included Elisabeth Segal, a patient at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, who told the RCN she was celebrating breast care nurses, especially her primary breast care nurse Suzanne England and her secondary breast care nurse Diane Mackie.
She said: “Suzanne and Dianne have supported me, helped me and I could not have coped without either one of them.”
Ms England added: “Often in our busy working lives, finding the time to realise the value of what we do and why we do it is forgotten. Nurses’ day is the ideal opportunity for each and every nurse to think about what is fundamentally important within their role and what they achieve every day.”
Two senior members of the college are out and about at special events in the North West to mark the day.
RCN president Andrea Spyropoulos met mental health nurses at Partnerships in Care on Friday, while deputy president Cecilia Anim will be addressing an International Nurses Day conference on the nursing contribution to equity and access to healthcare at the University of Salford on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, senior nurses used the event as an opportunity to make contact with frontline staff.
Marcia Perry, who joined Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust this month as assistant director of nursing, quality and operations, spent the afternoon shadowing staff at Swaffham Community Hospital.
While at the hospital, she helped patients with their meals, spoke to staff and heard about the activities on offer to support patient rehabilitation and the programme of daily activities provided.
“I have always found that the best way to get feedback on services is to speak to patients and staff face-to-face and spend time on the frontline,” she said. “It was wonderful to spend time at the hospital.”
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust’s chief nurse, Susan Aitkenhead, helped celebrate the day with nurses at East Surrey Hospital during the launch of its nursing and midwifery strategy for 2013-16.
Meanwhile, nurse leaders at NHS England, including chief nursing officer Jane Cummings, are hoping to make contact with frontline nurses though a series of “webinars” events from 13-28 May.
They hope nurses and midwives will engage with them in order to find out more about the new nursing national strategy, Compassion in Practice, as well as discussing and sharing ideas.
Ms Cummings said: “International Nurses Day has been a celebration of our nursing profession for nearly 50 years. During that time there have been huge changes in healthcare, but one key driver has remained – delivering the highest quality care for our patients.
“These virtual webinars would of course not been possible when International Nurses Day first started and, using the technology we now have available, the aim of 6Cs Live is to tap into the wealth of skills and expertise we have and develop a strong communications hub.
“This will help drive forward compassionate practice, not from the top down, but through learning and sharing of expertise and best practice throughout our nursing and midwifery workforce,” she added.